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Thread: Diseases in wizarding world

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  1. #1
    Seventh Year Gryffindor
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    Diseases in wizarding world

    Do you think wizard and witch's bodies work the same way as Muggles? Would a Squib have a "muggle" body or a magical one? I read, years ago, one story which conjectured that the reason some people were magical was an enlarged cerebrum, which, I'm guessing (I stopped biology a few years ago but-) would affect the hormones and therefore chemical balance of the body differently. So would a Squib have a smaller cerebrum and therefore behave like a Muggle?

    Also - this is a somewhat moral dilemma, but do you think there would be a magical cure for currently incurable diseases, like HIV or cancer? If so would the magical community pass it on to Muggles in some sort of way or not?

    There is some overlap between Muggle and Wizarding diseases, but how far would this extend? (like would it only apply to colds, rather than more serious things?)

    Also in the case of contagious Muggle diseases, would they be passed on to magical people or would there be some sort of resistance to it?

    Sorry for rambling questions- this has been distracting me all morning and would like to hear what you all think. Thanks in advance!

    Alex x
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  2. #2
    It's funny because recently I've been considering the same things. I'm going to be a nurse, and so I've taken loads of classes about how everything works and how any possibly can get sick. And so it consumes my thought what it is about wizards that keep them from getting as sick as Muggles (in all honestly, it really bothers me.)

    I think the idea of a larger brain is somewhat ridiculous. Sorry, but it does seems really strange. One, there's really nothing in the books that apply that wizards heads are somewhat bigger to house their supposedly bigger brains. And though a smaller than normal brain is a BAD thing, the only argument about a larger brain is that it makes you more intelligent (and I'm pretty sure that isn't true). And it wouldn't effect the hormone level. The brain regulates the hormones but it doesn't create them (those are the glands' jobs) so a bigger brain doesn't necessary equal more hormones. Besides, too much of any hormone are just as bad as too little. So no, wizards have normal sized brains that do regular things.

    To have a better resistance from disease would have to involve a better immune system (at least, for one). And I've had to study the immune system and all the way it works, and it's a pretty complex system. It would be hard for me to imagine a system more complex (because besides being complex it has to be very, very specific). So perhaps not a more advanced immune system, but one less likely to have faults (auto-immune diseases, and cancers for example).

    Honestly, I keep thinking that it all goes back to genes. Because in the end, it all DOES go back to genes. Perhaps wizards have some sequence of genes that the Muggles lack. When this gene is expressed, it allows magic to come forth. It makes some sense, since Muggleborns are expressing this after many generations. So perhaps Squibs are a fault in this genes. And perhaps these genes compensate for other Muggle genes that would allow them to be more susceptible to certain disease.

    But if it is genes that makes them less likely to have Muggle diseases, shouldn't there be certain Wizard diseases that Muggles can't get?

    This also makes me question whether wizards have certain chromosomal disorders. Shouldn't they be just as likely to have a glitch in their genes as a Muggle?

    Also - this is a somewhat moral dilemma, but do you think there would be a magical cure for currently incurable diseases, like HIV or cancer? If so would the magical community pass it on to Muggles in some sort of way or not?
    Haha, you stumbled upon another pondering of mine. I always wondered the same thing, because really I think they COULD have a cure or at least FIND a cure. Would they share it? The problem with sharing it is that it would break the code of secrecy the wizards had, so I think government would prevent it. However, I always wonder what would happen if some wizard discovered a cure and went rogue.

    Also, I think this might explain why Wizards don't seem to get that sick. Because they have cures and potions that cure things almost instantly and so people don't notice. A cure for the common cold; how nice.

    Even though, again that bothers me, because you can't cure everything.

    Okay, sorry I know that probably didn't answer any of your questions and I probably made you more confused than before, but it's what I'm pondering in my head. As a future nurse, their resistance to disease annoys me. With all the problems that can go wrong with the human body, it's a miracle any of us are healthy. And they're human aren't they?

  3. #3
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    Well we know that wizards do get diseases that humans don't (ie, Dragon Pox). Perhaps wizards get less Muggle diseases because, for the most part, they aren't in as much contact with Muggles. Perhaps if a wizard contracted HIV or something, the Healers would call it something else, as they aren't in contact with Muggle diseases. That's a loaded question though.
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  4. #4
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    It is possible that certain "magical" diseases like Dragon Pox are just Muggle diseases called by a different name. There have been a lot of medical advances in the 300 years since the Statute of Secrecy, but the wizards wouldn't exactly be keeping track of what we've been doing. I find it very likely wizards would discover the same illnesses but just call it something else.

    Tim the Enchanter

  5. #5
    Seventh Year Gryffindor
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    Maple- that's very interesting that HIV was the disease you mentioned, because that was precisely the disease I've given my character. I just thought talking about that disease specifically would be a bit- icky, given that I've never read a fanfic where STDs (of course HIV can be transmitted in other ways) are discussed - contraception is but not STDs. Although since HIV is a fairly recent disease I'm not sure how Healers would deal with it or, if wizards have had precautions against STDs for a while, whether they would even know it existed.

    I think Chante you're right- they can't have resistance to all diseases - I mean Mrs Crouch is ill from something unspecified and if we are to assume Muggles and wizards have different diseases (which would make the moral question of wizards passing on cures to things like cancer easier- if wizards can't get it then there's no need for them to research it therefore no moral problem) then it gives us free rein to make a few up.
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  6. #6
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    Yes, I've been pondering upon this thing for a while now, too and I couldn't be happier when I stumbled upon your thread. I happen to be a med student and believe me, nothing interests us more than such topics.

    Quote Originally Posted by thegirllikeme
    I think the idea of a larger brain is somewhat ridiculous.
    I agree with Chante over here. A larger brain seems funny-- rather, impossible. That would mean the wizards are more intelligent than the Muggles and it certainly isn't so (or they'd have understood Muggle inventions, right?)

    I do see that Chante has put forward some really interesting points too. I have always thought that the wizards have a mutation in their genes, which leads to their magical powers. It makes sense too, because glitches in the genes can do wonders, actually. Otherwise, it should be an extra chromosome-- one of the autosomes, I think.

    As for the diseases, considering being a wizard is due to a mutation, it makes sense that wizards can't catch some diseases that the Muggles can and vice versa. See, people with sickle cell anaemia cannot catch malaria, the reason being that the malarial parasite cannot survive on the sickle shaped RBCs. On the other hand, people who are normal are very prone to malaria and they sure as hell can't 'catch' sickle cell anaemia.

    Anyway, moving on to body composition. I agree with Chante in the fact that the human body as such has a very advanced functioning and composition. It can't get more advanced than this. But I guess HIV and cancer are totally possible amongst wizards too. The reason is that I don't quite think the particular kind of mutation involved with wizards is likely to have any relation with their immune systems. If their immune system is no more advanced than ours, then surely, they can get leukaemia. They can also get other kinds of cancer because the neoplastic cells in case of a cancer are not destroyed by our immune system. HIV is basically the CD4 cells being attacked and if the virus is not changing, then nothing can change amongst wizards.

    So, I'm guessing if the wizards do develop a potion that fights it all, they are likely to convey it to the Prime Minister who is likely to pass it on to the Muggles slowly and steadily.

    Hope I made sense!
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  7. #7
    Fifth Year Gryffindor
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    Hmmmm... If they're magical, couldn't their bodies act magical, too? Maybe their immune systems are different, which keeps them from getting Muggle diseases, but Muggle immune systems keep magical diseases out. Hmmmm... Could magic be something you "catch"? And Muggle immune systems keep it out, but wizarding ones don't after the age of about seven, when kids are supposed to be showing magic... Ooooh... what if there was a virus or something that changed Muggles' immune systems to let in the wizard germ/virus/thingy, and then they all started catching it...

    Sorry for the randomness. It's just a possible explanation that sprang into being.

    Kinda really hiatus-y at present.
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